If you run a small to medium business, getting the best web hosting is very important. In this article, we'll look and evaluate a few of the best web hosting providers like A2 Hosting, SiteGround, HostGator, Bluehost and DreamHost. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we are featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, VPS, shared hosting, and many more web hosting services along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.
Let's look at each of the web hosting companies below in a little more depth to help you find the best web hosting provider to meet your needs.
Special Offer: Get started with A2 Hosting for $2.96 a month!
- Shared hosting starting at $2.96/mo.
- WordPress hosting starting at $2.96/mo.
- Reseller hosting starting at $9.80/mo.
- VPS hosting starting at $5/mo.
- Dedicated servers starting at $99.59/mo.
A2 Hosting does a lot of things right. They offer Linux and Windows-based servers, SSD, caching, CDN, and SSL for all plans. While some plans offer uptime monitoring and regular backups, all plans offer malware scanning and automatic patching and updates.
The hosting provider offers a managed hosting service called HostGuard. Subscribers of this service have access to a 24/7/365 "Guru Crew" support team that manages network, hardware, software, and security. Managed hosting for WordPress customers begins at $9.78/mo, and for VPS customers at $25/mo.
The web hosting provider offers solid plans with a good selection of features. The one area we're concerned about is how they present their offers. Like many hosting providers, their published pricing is a bit misleading. You're not getting hosting for $2.96/mo unless you pay $71 for two years of service. Renewals are generally at a higher rate, although a salesperson we spoke to advised you ask for a "loyalty discount."
It shouldn't come as any surprise that, like other hosting providers, A2 Hosting's unlimited plans aren't actually unlimited. They expect you to use their service like "similarly situated customers." This is like being on a highway. If everyone is going a few miles above the speed limit, you're probably okay, but if you're barreling down the fast lane past everyone else, you're probably going to be asked to slow down.
The company offers a solid 30-day money back guarantee they call an "Anytime" money back guarantee. Yeah...kind of. You can ask for your money back at any time, but after your first 30 days, how much you get back will depend on a painfully complex pro-rating system.
But, again, operationally they're quite strong. 24/7/365 customer support is available not only by live chat and email, but by phone. They offer free site migrations with some dedicated attention paid to making a transfer as smooth as possible. And, if you're willing to go for one of the higher-end plans, the company has put some serious attention into performance and caching.
- Shared hosting starting at $3.95/mo.
- WordPress hosting starting at $3.95/mo.
- Reseller server starting at $42/year.
- Cloud hosting starting at $80/mo.
SiteGround sits in the middle ground between a consumer web hosting provider and those who cater to enterprise business solutions. If you've got a small business with more complex web needs than a typical small business, SiteGround is an ideal solution.
Although offerings start as low as $3.95 per month, we particularly like the company's GoGeek plan, which is chock full of useful features, including access to a staging server and one-click Git repo creation.
There's a lot to like about SiteGround, but the company did lose some points due to its policy of more than doubling your hosting costs after the first year. That nice $3.95/mo price shoots up to $11.95 per month. The company calls it a first-year discount, but that's in very tiny, light gray print.
On the plus side, SiteGround offers free automatic daily backups, access to the Cloudflare CDN, high-performance SSDs for all plans, unlimited email accounts, and integration of the free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate into sites. The company does limit bandwidth and storage, but even those who claim to offer so-called unlimited bandwidth and storage really have some limits in their terms of service.
SiteGround is very proactive about protecting their customers' security. They have a dedicated security team that writes necessary patches and web firewall rules that help mitigate zero-day vulnerabilities. They also use an AI-based system to monitor and apply fixes to all their servers dynamically.
Finally, the company offers an entire tier of custom enterprise business services. So, if you start out with a small business and do GrowBig (as their mid-tier plan is named), you'll be able to stay with the company no matter how big you get.
- Shared hosting starting at $2.75/mo.
- WordPress hosting starting at $5.95/mo.
- Reseller hosting starting at $19.95/mo.
- VPS hosting starting at $29.95/mo.
- Dedicated servers starting at $119/mo.
- Cloud hosting starting at $4.95/mo.
HostGator is a full-service hosting company, with plans for almost any need. Whether you're starting out and need a very basic shared site, or need to be able to operate your own machine dedicated solely to your company, HostGator has a service that can help.
We like how HostGator not only allows more sophisticated site builders to customize their dedicated or virtual server, but also to choose Linux or Windows hosting. While HostGator doesn't support SSDs on all plans, many of its servers can be equipped with the faster drives.
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
- Shared hosting starting at $2.95/mo.
- WordPress hosting starting at $2.95/mo.
- VPS hosting starting at $18.99/mo.
- Dedicated hosting starting at $79.99/mo.
When you sign up to Bluehost, you'll get a free domain name for the first year, along with a free SSL certificate (allowing you to operate a secure website for your personal use or business).
If you're a WordPress user, Bluehost is definitely a web hosting provider to consider. While its managed WordPress hosting is a little more pricey than basic shared hosting, the company has both specific WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans available (along with management support). It also offers a site migration service for an additional fee.
The web hosting provider got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. Be aware, though, that the promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost offers 24/7 phone support, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and SSH access for certain plan options.
- Shared hosting starting at $2.59/mo.
- WordPress hosting starting at $2.59/mo.
- VPS hosting starting at $10/mo.
- Dedicated servers starting at $149/mo.
- Cloud hosting starting at $4.50/mo.
Web hosting is, no doubt, as much a cutthroat business as any other. But that's why the fact that DreamHost's ongoing offer to provide a free shared website to 501(c)(3) nonprofits is so notable. (Full disclosure: A nonprofit I was affiliated with once took advantage of this offer.)
Beyond that, DreamHost is a top hosting company for many reasons. They operate their own control panel, which is convenient and easy to understand. While phone customer support isn't available 24/7, they are responsive to live chat and tickets. The company uses super-fast SSDs for all their storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secured web browsing), and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users.
There are two other factors that led to the nearly perfect score earned by DreamHost. First, the company's pricing is pretty transparent. There are no hidden gotchas in the rates. Plus, DreamHost provides a 97-day money back guarantee. There's quite literally zero risk in giving them a try.